BEETHOVEN CONCERT 37 OF 40: How lucky we are

New Plymouth welcomed the its final concert of Michael Houstoun’s Beethoven reCYCLE in a replacement venue, St Andrews Church on Liardet Street. Concert Season subscriber Darren McDonald tells us all about the venue, the concert and the cake!…


What a wonderful season this has been here in our province  “like no other”.  Last night we went to the second New Plymouth concert in the reCYCLE series.

Our normal venue is currently closed for earthquake strengthening and we arrived early at St Andrew’s Church to secure the prized upstairs seats.  At the previous concert we had discovered the piano tuner was sitting in front of us and, at half time, we were surprised to find Piers Lane had been sitting behind us also enjoying the magnificent Goldner String Quartet.  This was definitely the best spot to enjoy the fine church acoustics!

Such a social occasion these concerts.  My wife deposited me safely in our seats and promptly disappeared to discuss the many gardens of the Taranaki Rhododendron festivals.  I was left chatting with a young man beside me who had taken time out from his NCEA study to enjoy the concert, a gift from his grandparents. (Now there is a good Christmas present idea!). The Chamber Music New Zealand CEO welcomed us, the lights went off and we were left to appreciate the evening light illuminating the stained glass windows. There was of course the music to look forward to also!

Afterward a friend remarked that the performance by Michael Houstoun was ‘sublime’.  She said, ” I was carried away”. Personally I loved the contrast between the rapid first movement of the Pathétique and famous second movement. The control and atmosphere generated in the quiet conclusion to Sonata 18 in E flat was delightful.

Like many of our friends I simply love the occasion, indeed the privilege, of being able to enjoy this stream of international artists in our small New Zealand city.  I remember seeing many of these artists at places like the Wigmore Hall in London (On the OE and BC – before children!) and I know anyone reading this blog will appreciate just how lucky we are to hear these concerts in NZ.

Celebrating after the concert - Michael with a special CMNZ cake!

Celebrating after the concert – Michael with a special CMNZ cake!

The cake, wine tea and coffee were wonderful afterwards; thank you to all those volunteers.

– Darren, 7.11.2013

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